Elections to 38 Lok Sabha seats and bypolls for 18 Assembly segments in Tamil Nadu Thursday ended by and large peacefully and the turnout for Parliamentary polls stood at 70.90 per cent, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said.
The turnout in the 18 assembly segments recorded 71.62 per cent, he told reporters. There was no major law and order problems and a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) jawan fired one round in the air to disperse crowds near Arakkonam, the CEO said.
DGP (Elections) Ashutosh Shukla said when the crowds tried to enter a polling station at Kilvisharam under Arakkonam Lok Sabha segment, a CAPF jawan opened one round of fire in the air. “Superintendent of Police, Vellore rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control,” he added.
Minor incidents of violence were reported from five towns, including Gudiyatham and Ariyalur, and the situation was brought under control immediately, he added. Police said four BJP men were allegedly injured in a clash with workers of the DMK and Congress in Kanyakumari.
Tamil Nadu had witnessed 73.68 per cent polling in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Namakkal Lok Sabha seat topped the list with a polling of 79.75 per cent while Chennai South was the lowest with 57.43 per cent.
Chennai North (61.76), Chennai Central (57.86) and Sriperumbudur (60.61) on the city outskirts were among the segments that witnessed a comparatively low turnout.
As regards Assembly segments, Harur constituency in Dharmapuri district recorded the highest polling percentage of 86.96 while Sattur in Virudhunagar district registered the lowest (60.87).
On complaints of technical glitches, Sahoo said 375 ballot units, 228 control units and 766 VVPAT were replaced. “Based on the low replacement rates, we can say the EVM performance has been very good.”
The EVMs and VVPATs will be moved to counting centres by poll authorities and police in the presence of political parties, the CEO noted.
On allegation of deletion of about a lakh of voters’ names in Kanyakumari by the Congress, he said they could give a complaint and it will be acted upon.
Tamil Nadu brought out the many colours of elections when several centenarians like 102-year-old Jegadambal of Nagapattinam and lakhs of first-time voters braved the scorching sun to cast their vote.
From Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, DMK chief M K Stalin, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan were among those who exercised their franchise standing in queues.
Party leaders and top film stars including Rajinikanth, Ajit and Vijay were among the prominent personalities who turned up to vote.
Indisposed 96-year-old DMK veteran, K Anbazhagan, a colleague of late M Karunanidhi was wheeled in at a booth here to cast his vote.
Just after getting married, several couples arrived in their traditional attire at the polling stations in areas including Nallampalli (Dharmapuri) and Srivilliputhur (Virudhunagar) to cast their votes.
Rain and shine played spoilsport to an extent in some parts of the State in keeping voters away from the polling stations for some time.
While Chennai and other northern parts of Tamil Nadu was blazing hot, some southern parts of the State including Kanyakumari received showers.
People switched to protest mode as well in a couple of regions like the villagers of Top Station in Kurangani hill ranges of Theni District to protest lack of basic amenities. “Of the 185 voters of this village, none came forward to cast their vote,” Theni District Collector M Pallavi Baldev told PTI.
Two elderly men died after casting their votes in Sivagiri (Erode) and Vedappatti (Salem) respectively.
A 65-year-old man, who collapsed after emerging from a polling station, was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead in Coimbatore while an 85-year woman died while she was standing in a queue at a booth there.
Deletion of names from voters list, non-issuance of voters’ slips, malfunctioning of EVMs and technical glitches delaying polling process were among the key complaints of the people.
After casting his vote, Stalin alleged that there has been distribution of cash and accused the Election Commission of being an “ally” of central and state governments.
Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi, and Karti Chidambaram of Congress are among key contenders.
Radhakrishnan told reporters in Kanyakumari: “This is a massive democratic festival which will decide the fate of India. I have exercised my franchise... A silent revolution is happening.”
AIADMK leader and state minister D Jayakumar said 13 per cent voting in the morning “is a joyous thing.”
“This shows there is a wave for Amma and MGR,” he said, exuding confidence that the AIADMK-BJP combine will emerge victorious.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran alleged “malfunctioning of EVMs is an achievement of the Modi government.”
About 1.40 lakh police personnel and 160 companies of CAPF were deployed in 17,720 polling stations to manage law and order.